America, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays – Watching the Detectives

Just like watching the detectives don’t get cute, just like watching the detectives, I get so angry when the teardrops start, But he can’t be wounded ’cause he got no heart. Elvis Costello, Watching the Detectives

And with apologies to the Poet Laureate of New Wave.

But it’s not the bespectacled one but the new run of Line of Duty, shot in Belfast, which has got me thinking.

About my favourite detectives in the cities they are associated with.

So here are seven deadly detective shows, their music and their cities.

Van’s the man

žCan I be trusted on a bike? In Amsterdam

Van der Valk, Amsterdam: So good they kept a sample of the Simon Park Orchestra’s original score ‘Eye Level’ for the reworking of the original series.

And even then purists lambasted the modern version and Marc Warren’s ‘Piet’ as opposed to Barry Foster’s.

And don’t you just love the cluttered narrow bars they all drink in.

Hutch more New York

My New York

Starsky & Hutch, New York: Starsky & Hutch was the breakthrough police show for young people more used to oldie cops.

Good, yes, like the lollipop-sucking Theo Kojak. And, yes, we loved you, baby, too!

But Starsk and Hutch and Huggy Bear brought a street vibe, slapstick and more New York life.

As did the Stiller and Wilson remake with Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear captured the excitement and warmth and music of the original.

Glasgow is No Mean City

Glasgow wit

Taggart, Glasgow: And who would have thought they could have made grey post-industrial Glasgow cool in the Eighties?

But they did and you knew you were in for something different when the credits rolled.

And Maggie Bell gave us a smoky, bluesy No Mean City, a homage to a gangster novel about Twenties Gorbals Glasgow.

London, you’re nicked

Two English and a Scotsman

The Sweeney: Regan and Carter were the Line of Duty of their day, the water-cooler show before water coolers.

Again another they made a remake of, with only Ray Winstone able to reprise John Thaw, while Plan B took on Dennis Waterman.

The Winstone opening scene had a car chase around Trafalgar Square while Thaw’s played out more on wasteland.

But London sizzled from the moment the Thames TV with its iconic St Paul’s graphic came up… and who can forget the theme tune?

Monsieur Bean?

Maigret, Paris: And it was always going to require us to make a shift to see Mr Bean as Monsieur Maigret.

Mais oui, Rowan Atkinson pulled it off, with that brooding sense of contemptuous arrogance we so love about Parisians.

And who doesn’t love an accordion?

Naturellement, you would want to show off the City of Lights if you set your show here.

Which is why it was shot in Budapest with Szentendre doubling for the Montmartre.

Across the Channel

Sunny Jersey

Bergerac, Jersey: And a little bit of sun came into our lives in the Eighties.

In the only part of the UK where they get sun… in Jersey, on the doorstep of France.

As none of us can identify a Jersey site from a Jersey cow then their first image was a map of the island.

Before we get action clips of dunes and John Nettles running after high-end crooks.

Old at the time, Johnnie then retired to Midsomer.

Deadly Caribbean

Nylon Pool, Tobago

Death in Paradise, Guadeloupe: No mon, it’s not Saint Marie, but Guadeloupe.

It lies halfway down the eastern Caribbean chain between Dominica and Antigua.

And it has some of the features you’d expect in a West Indian island, a volcano, sandy beaches obvs and a rainforest.

And you’ll get some of this and more of the other in Tobago and Barbados

All good and varied locales for misdemeanour and murder.

And all set against an uplifting score and, if you know your stuff, homages to the film The Harder They Come.

So to cheer your day up here’s some Jimmy Cliff ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want‘.

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Signdays

You might not expect to be moved at a Cliff Richard concert unless Old Maura lifts your wife’s hand in Dublin so she can sway too.

Thank you to all my friends: Cliff Richard

But the sight of a section of deaf fans signing at one of Cliff’s Christian concerts at Wembley had me transfixed.

You’ve got to own it: Eminem

As an Eminem signer goes viral for her animated renditions at his concerts a celebration and selection of other captivating signing songs.

Toast of the Grammies

Hello Halo: Beyoncé

Beyonce: Of course her position as Queen Bey is unchallenged.

Although I do think that OneRepublic’s Halo which they thrilled us with in Red Rocks tops her (I know treason).

And here’s someone who also tried to steal some limelight from Grammys multi-award winner Beyoncé at one of her gigs.

And I know how hard it is to get into Grammy folklore.

Take a bow the signer at Atlanta Pride who rocked it.

Where is the Love?

There is the love: The Peaa

Black Eyed Peas: And we have a visual signpost straight off with the question mark cards we all remember.

But this from the LA formed Black Eyed Peas classic, the best-selling single in the UK in 2003, is filled with imagery.

Now full disclosure here.

I have no sign language here other than knowing flapping your arm against your side means Scottish, as in bagpipes.

And just randomly recalling the lyrics I imagine that KKK is either a very rude sign or pulling a hood over your head.

Thrashing around

Rock gods: Slayer

Slayer: We probably know more sign language than we think.

And we are certainly all capable of describing a musical instrument.

For many a spotty teenage boy, and greasy-haired men too, being able to play the air guitar is vital at a heavy metal concert.

And this signer certainly knows her Slayer although I’d like to see her slide along the floor too.

Marlee’s movements

Deaf and loud: Sean Forbes www.deafandloud.com

Marlee Matlin is probably the best-known deaf performer in the world, recognised for her craft.

She famously won an Oscar for Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God in 1986.

But Sean has not come across my radar. He is for all you who don’t know which is probably very few a Detroit hip-hop artist.

And this is the magic that happens when Sean and Marlee get together.

Sean Forbes Ft Marlee Matlin

Katy’s Fireworks

Perry good: Katy Perry

Her detractors will say that Katy Perry is on point but then why is that a bad thing.

The green-eyed monster of jealousy is of course rearing its ugly head here while our heroine is rearing her gorgeous head.

No less a figure than Joe Biden had her perform at his inauguration party.

And she brought the house down with her rendition of Fireworks in Washington DC.

All of which was signed and which cut the night air.

 

America, Canada, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Some mothers… travels with mine

I’ve got a husband, five brothers and three sons and James (my Sunday name) is the most selfish of them all.

Never mind that I’d driven her and her sister up from my home in Co. Wicklow to her homestead of Co. Donegal.

Or that I was standing just feet away from my cousin when she was giving out.

On this Mothering Weekend these are our travails.

God’s (and her) Own Country

La Famille: In Donegal

Ireland: And for my Dear Old Mum that’s Donegal where she grew up in a hotel in a rural hamlet, and holds court every time she goes back.

At Powerscourt Waterfalls in Co. Wicklow

Of course the Donegal natives go along with her Diva-like behaviour and indulge her.

Green, green Ireland

It gets us a free pot of tea every time we go back to the now renamed Ramblers Inn.

The Queen of Queens

New York attitude

There’s an advert which the Irish are all too familiar with where two old ones batter the heck out of each other because each wants to pay the bill.

It is quintissentially Irish and it annoys the Scottish half of me to boiling point.

Of course when my Dear Old Mum is with her own siblings and relatives her need to show her largesse goes off the scale.

And so when we went to my cousin’s wedding in Queens in New York she berated me in front of my extended familly and insisted that she pay for the pre-wedding meal.

Before bossing me around Manhattan. Well, I didn’t ask her to wear high heels.

A wee break in Scotland

The Royal Wave

And I can’t even get that.

Anyone who has been to a major golf tournament (2000! Open, St Andrews) will tell you that the queue for the Portaloos is long.

And that when you eventually get in then you will make the most of it.

Of course, too long for my Dear Old Mum, who sent a random spectator to knock on the door and ask how long I was going to be.

She obviously wanted to see Tiger.

But of course I got my own back and outran her, and jumped the Swilcen Burn with the crowd to see him lift the trophy.

Piping up: In Glasgow

One of my favourite trips was when I took her into her adopted city and my homestead of Glasgow to see the World Bagpipes Championships.

Another particular quirk of the Irish is to be dumbfounded that you could ever by hosted by anyone else. She, of course, wanted to pay!

And one that got away

King of the wild frontier. Go West.

My brother, that is who emigrated to Canada after meeting a Torontonian.

I broke the habit of a lifetime by being responsible and putting my studies before a few days in Canada to see my brother get married.

But my Dear Old Mum didn’t forget me then and brought me back a Davy Crockett type hat which became my signature look from then on in my student town of Aberdeen.

 

Asia, Countries, Culture, UK

Me and Indian Murty money

Hi And why if I’m related to Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer have I not received the biggest bale-out?

Let me explain.

There’s the official family history we’re fed, the one we discover for ourselves and then perhaps the real one that is hidden.

And that’s why Who Do You Think You Are? is such a TV hit and genealogy and roots tourism is such big business.

Bear with me and I’ll tell you my family’s own chequered history, the one I know about.

But firstly a word on my kinswoman Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty.

The Murtys of India

Her name came on my radar when The Guardian did some digging into her business dealings to try to undermine Dishy Rishi.

The pair wed in 2009 and while businessman Rishi is a suitable boy Akshata is a more than suitable girl.

Her Dad co-founded the IT company Infosys so she is worth a rupee or two.

And with Akshata’s man in charge of Britain’s family silver then I ought never to have to worry again.

In some quarters they are said to be richer than the Queen.

Alas we’re of a different arm of the family, Armagh weavers in the 18th century who left for Glasgow.

Rather than the Indian arm of the family unless Mum’s Indian milkman was popping by with more than just bottles.

Happen I should get out there to India to find out if there is a fortune waiting for me.

Like I should have done when my altruism got the better of me back in the day, and I sent colleagues to India for yoga and culture instead of me.

Intrepid trips

Intrepid Travel offer eight days India’s Golden Triangle, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur with a rural heritage stay, from £516.

They are running a Cyber sale of up to 20% off 2021 trips. Book now and save on trips before December 15.

So you’ll get Friday, February 5-12 at £540, down from £675.

And book your own room from an extra £130.

But book now as offer ends today.
Which may seem tight but those two colleagues I sent to India, well I turned it around for them in a busy afternoon.

Africa, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Hungry and Thursday – Afrikaans pumpkin fritters

And to think the Scary One tried to palm me off with pumpkin seeds…

When being of the Scottish variety the way to my clotted heart is something deep fried.

But surprisingly you won’t find the pumpkin fritter in Glasgow, or the Deep South of America which I swear the Scots brought there!

Fritter, but not fitter

No, the pumpkin fritter is a favourite of the South Africans. They call them pampoen koekies.

I’m directed here by www.tastyrecipes.sapeople.com where you’ll find this recipe.

Ingredients:

    Two cups cooked mashed pumpkin
    One tsp vanilla extract
    One beaten egg
    One cup of self-raising flour
    Two tsps baking powder
    A quarter tsp salt
    One tbles brown sugar
    Oil for frying

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

  • 50g castor sugar
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
Bucket list

How to:

  • Drain the cooked pumpkin well
  • Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract and mix
  • Add the rest and mix to a soft but firm batter
  • Place a spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil.
  • Fry on one side until golden brown and turn to cook on the other side
  • Remove on slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper
  • In small bowl combine castor sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over hot fritters before serving

Any kids coming guising around the house though will be getting deep-fried mars bars.

This is Scotland, not South Africa!

America, Countries, Culture, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Holiday Snaps – Remote Dubrovnik, sign me up

It used to take me an hour and a half from my home in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, to get me to work in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

But in these COVID days I’ve reduced the hike to my office to a second and a half which, of course, is sending me stir crazy.

The Pearl of the Adriatic

Thankfully the Digital Nomad Visa Scheme is at hand to offer us the chance to move our workplace to, say Dubrovnik.

Nor is it new… George Bernard Shaw did, calling Dubrovnik ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’.

And that ‘those who seek Paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik’.

So if you can swing it to take three weeks, say, then our friends at Adriatic Hotels will help out.

Sail of the century

Reckon it’ll be nicer than home… and warmer!

They recommend the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace and the https://www.adriaticluxuryhotels.com/hotel-excelsior-dubrovnik/.

Buffalo Bill, Denniston and us

Glasgow rides again

And Dennistoun in the East End of Glasgow, the birthplace of my Dear Old Dad and Buffalo Bill’s stomping ground, has won its rightful place in the world’s hearts.

Dennistoun is the unlikely inclusion in a top ten of a Time Out list of Coolest Neighbourhoods.

Eighth behind Esquerra De L’Eixanple, Barcelona Downtown LA and Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York.

Billtown, Glasgow… http://www.dennistounconservationsociety.org.uk/page.asp?Title=Buffalo+Bill&Section=11&Page=13

And ahead of Haut-Marais, Paris and Marickville, Sydney.

James Manning, Time Out’s International Editor congratulated Dennistoun on its response to the pandemic.

Murtytown, Glasgow

‘With independents pipping up and artists brightening the winding streets.’

But Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Riders, Chief Sitting Bull among them, knew that already, choosing Dennistoun as his sole Scottish venue on his first Euro tour.

Buffalo Bill’s Grave, Colorado

There’s a statue to Buffalo Bill on Whitehill Street and Dennistoun is written large in the scrolls of the Buffalo Bill Museum in Golden, Colorado, where he is laud to rest.

The mighty Aphrodite and Cyprus

And because I like to see a job through, I want to get to the beginning and end of the Aphrodite story.

Having checked in on Kythera where Aphrodite was born out of the swell of the waves I obviously have to see whete she passed onto the Great Beyond in Cyprus.

With Travel Department who are offering seven nights from €1039pp, including flights, transfers 4* half-board hotel

Plus excursions and tour guide. Depart April, September, October and November.

Not past her shell-life: Aphrodite and Cyprus

You’ll whizz around the Medieval town on a half-day tour, the capital city Nicosia.

And one I’ve been building up for years, one of the great joys of Travel, crossing the border of an island, into Northern Cyprus.

Of course back in the days of Aphrodite it wasn’t an issue.

Paphos is mighty for Aphrodite… and Omodos for the wine.

Party like a German

Good to see my old German friends from the German Travel Mart and hear that the Beethoven 250th celebrations are still on course.

With December seeing two major musical events from his birthtown Bonn.

Beethoven 2020 will now be Beethoven 2021 too.. a bit like an extra symphony.

So let us entertain you with this sample of how broad Beethoven can be.

While you’ll want to watch out for Robbie Williams’ take on Beethoven next year.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, UK

Sunday Sermon – God’s Own Country Scotland

God is handing out the countries: ‘You will have ice-capped mountains, pure water running down the streams and majestic deer roaming the verdant valleys.

‘You will be great explorers, missionaries, inventors, dreamers, poets, entertainers and educationalists.

‘And have the spoils of the land and sea to put on great feasts and the purest whisky to toast.’

The Archangel Michael pipes up: ‘Have you not given these Scots too much?’

The Lord shoots back: ‘Look at the neighbours I gave them.’

The charms of Scotland, my home country which I am reacquainting myself after a 13 years adventure in Ireland, are evident.

But as is often the case there is so much under my nose without me knowing.

And that is where I have Visit Scotland www.visitscotland.com to help.

It is always a good idea when relocating to another country, or just going on holiday, to check out the country’s tourist board website.

And so while the borders were closed (and some of the best still are) I was checking out where I still haven’t been in my homeland.

Up Helly Aa in Shetland

The Shetland Islands: And I’ve been trying to get up to Scotland’s most northerly islands since making friends with Shetlander Shona at uni in the Eighties.

And when we moved in to a new house in Aberdeen www.visitabdn.com Elizabeth whose parents hail from Shetland, and Scott lived opposite.

And now they have relocated to Shetland I’ve been making not so subtle hints about going up for Up Helly Aa, the January festival when the locals burn a Viking ship.

Alas next year’s festivities have been put off but when I’ve been waiting 35 years what’s another year? See www.shetland.org and https://www.uphellyaa.org/.

Roll out the Barra

Barra: I sat down to write a maudlin letter about how homesick I was on my first day in halls in Aberdeen University.

Before meeting up with my old schoolpal Martin, meeting a girl, and some Western Islanders and never looked back.

I spent the summer in Aberdeen Aberdeen – a light in the north and so after the following year’s first term it was a year since going home to Glasgow www.peoplemakeglasgow.com

Just my luck then that my pals got together in my future Best Man’s island of Barra before Christmas. My family put the foot down.

Barra http://www.isleofbarra.com/ is regularly on the list of the world’s most beautiful islands and has a Tintin connection.

Iona island

And this is a holy island where St Columba is believed to have come and set up base to spread Christianity throughout Scotland.

Many spiritualists and New Age hippies and Eastern mystics have made pilgrimages since.

I can just see myself doing my Yoga Nidra The Sunday Sermon – Yoga Nidra by the walls of the old Ionian church http://www.welcometoiona.com/.

Orkney’s past

When you leave the fabled John O’ Groats, the northernmost point on mainland Scotland, and named after a Dutchman, you’ll get to the Orkney Islands.

The Orkneys https://www.orkney.com/ too have an international connection with their Italian Chapel built by Italian prisoners of war.

And long before Christianity the pagans worshipped the Sun and you can see how in their stone circles.

I do… the Isle of Ewe

The Isle of Ewe a one-family (the Grants) off Wester Ross has become something of a cult island.

For young lovers.

Because put the words together and you get I love you.

Which is why imaginative young romantic men are taking their young ladies there to propose.

For my first wife it was Malta Malta pleaser. And after that jibe I’ll have to make some big romantic gesture.

And remember the most romantic way to travel is Caledonian Mac Ferries https://www.calmac.co.uk/.

America, Countries, Culture, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Boxing clever

And in the blue corner ‘Jugular Jim’ Murty and in the red corner ‘The Clones Cyclone’ Barry McGuigan.

We ought to start at the very beginning here when a sallow cub reporter was sent by his news editor to talk to the boxing champion.

Barry was appearing in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and I asked the former World Heavyweight champion which dwarf would he be playing.

Take that: Barry in action against Eusebio Pedroza

He bristled before regaining his composure.

On returning to the office my news editor fell upon the idea of us putting on a pretend sparring session.

All of which circling around the ring brings me onto the return of boxing in England this weekend.

There won’t, of course, be a crowd but one of the upsides is that we’ll be able to hear every thud and grimace more clearly.

Which you can only really do otherwise if you’re ringside.

Which I was lucky enough to be in my spell as a boxing writer in the Nineties covering the likes of Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Pat Clinton in Glasgow https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/.

A broad canvas: The Garden

Of course the Mecca for boxing is the US and it is every boxer’s dream to fight at Madison Square Garden and Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas.

Next year: In Vegas

And every fight fan (hands up) too… and while I love both cities https://www.google.com/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/ and Strip… the light fantastic I’ve yet to see ring action there.

See also www.lvcva.com and www.nycvb.com.

MEET YOU RINGSIDE

Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

The Sunday Sermon – asylum seekers

The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream saying ‘arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word – Matthew 2:13

My home city of Glasgow www.peoplemakeglasgow.com was stunned by the knife attack in a city centre hotel ‘used to house asylum seekers during lockdown.’

Now as a journalist of 30 years standing I know of the importance, nay duty, to give a full account.

Glasgow’s miles better

But does drawing attention to it being a temporary home for asylum seekers not point to this being the motive for the attack?

And, of course, it doesn’t take much in this climate to ratchet up distrust of asylum seekers.

Those very same critics though use the name of Our Lord God daily.

Glasgow has made great strides since I was a boy.

I was educated in a privileged all-Catholic, all-boys, private school in a predominantly Pakistani area.

And the poor corner shop owner had to put up with all kinds of abuse.

School’s out

Us boys were on the surface taught about Christian equality.

But we were in fact indoctrinated to believe Catholics were the master race.

Of course Our Lord and God was an asylum seeker himself when his family took refuge in Egypt from the infanticidal King Herod.

Like Jesus, Moses was a refugee too, in modern-day Jordan www.visitjordan.com.

Jordan could teach us a thing or two about how to welcome assylum-seekers.

Palestinians welcome

And two million Palestinian refugees calling the Middle Eastern statehome.

I saw first hand how hospitality is at the centre of the Islamic faith.

And our guide Mr Jordan himself Zuhair was quick to remind our mainly Christian G Adventures International group www.gadventures.com and The water of life, Petra, and the sands of time of tolerance.

And that Islam, Judaism and Christianity shared the same story and prophets.

We would do well to remember when we are quick to demonise asylum seekers.

Asia, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’ll know by now that Liverpool have won their first league title for 30 years… you’ll never walk alone.

Which is of course their salute to each other and when I say ‘their’ I do of course mean ‘our’.

Because we used to live in Liverpool www.visitliverpool.com and the Son and Heir was born there and took the team with the city’s name in it as his club.

Setting the pace

Little would Gerry & The Pacemakers know when they released their cover of the Rogers and Hammerstein song from the musical Carousel in 1964…

The Celtic Way. www.uefa.com

But this song would become the most famous ‘football’ song in history.

Interestingly too it is shared with the first British winners of the European Cup, Celtic.

Liverpool may be obvious because Marsden is a Liverpudlian.

Celtic tribe

And the-then manager Bill Shankly is said to have swooped on the song when he met the singer.

But Glaswegian giants Celtic https://peoplemakeglasgow.com is less obvious and in fact dates to 1966 when the two teams met in European competition.

Yellow wall: Borussia Dortmund. www.bvbbuzz.com

There has never though been any rivalry over the song between the two clubs whose fans have enjoyed a long bond with each other.

The anthem has been taken up by teams abroad with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund playing it.

Ja beauty

And as you know my mantra when going anywhere is to seek out where they play and pray… https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/index.html.

And whisper it around the Westfalenstadion but my football education in Germany has been in Munich.

The Feyenoord Legion www.feyenoord.com

There are of course two teams in the city and 1860 also play at the Allianz Arena along with Bayern.

The Dutch too have embraced YNWA.

With the Liverpool stadium speaker George Sephton giving FC Twente the song when they moved stadiums.

Dutch of magic

While Feyenoord and SC Cambuur have also taken the song to their hearts.

I’ve been all over Dutch football since I adopted them as my ‘second team’ after watching Johan Cruyff’s side of the mid-Seventies.

In Bruges

And Dutchland since I became old enough to organise my own holidays Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel and www.iamsterdam.com.

In fact wander around Europe (as I do for you, dear reader) and you’ll find more nationalities walking on with hope in their hearts.

Belgian waffling

Brugge is a delightful Medieval city of canals, culture, chocolates and churches In Flanders fields and https://gtitravel.ie https://www.visitflanders.com/en/?country=en_GB.

But it also has a link to Liverpool as it was Brugge who lost to Liverpool in the English club’s first European Cup final in 1978.

But who came away with a song, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The others are more random but the destinations are right up my street.

Walk this way

I guess it makes sense that CD Lugo, in Spain’s Second Division, should have taken it as their song.

As they hail from Galicia, Camino heartland www.CaminoWays.com and A pilgrim’s prayer.

Why it’s the song of PAOK in Thessaloniki, Indonesia’s Bali United and Japan’s FC Tokyo then that’s one more reason to check out…

Athens’ https://athensattica.com My Greek odyssey little brother https://thessaloniki.travel/en/, https://www.bali.com and https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html.